Organic Pest and Fungus Control

Dealing with harmful insects and pests in your garden can sometimes be a daunting task.  A major factor being that, since this is your food, use of insecticides and pesticides and can prove more harmful than helpful.  Generalized spraying of chemicals in your garden can transfer toxins straight to you, as well as killing off beneficial bugs that are actually good for the garden.  Luckily there are very natural and safe ways to deal with most insects that can infest your plants, keeping your garden and YOU healthy!

 Spiders are actually Good for the garden, eating many of the bugs that would harm plants.

Prevention:

1. Water:  First and most importantly, KEEP YOUR GARDEN WATERED AND FERTILIZED!  Healthy plants do not generally attract pests.  Instead, most insects are drawn to plants that are stressed or dying, thus aiding in the break-down and recycling of the plant.  Mother Nature runs very sophisticated systems to keep everything in check, and these “pests” that give us a hard time, are simply part of it. So, fertilizing and regularly watering (without drowning your plants) is key.  The best time to water is in the early morning.  This way your plants have plenty of time to soak up the water into their roots, and for the sun to get rid of any water on the plants leaves.  If temperatures are especially high, you may consider watering twice a day (morning and afternoon).

2. Dry Leaves:  Avoid watering the leaves of your plants if you can.  Instead, water the soil below.  Water on the leaves can attract disease and subsequently…insects.

3. Clean Beds:  Remove any debris that may prove to be too irresistible for insects to make a home in.  Also consider placing your compost pile away from your garden.

4. Remove Poor Plants: These may attract disease and pests to your other plants.  If you are trying to avoid removing those affected plants (perhaps it is a unique variety, or you just want to bring whatever it is back to health), consider placing them in “quarantine” until they are healthy again.  You can do this by placing a fine netting over the entire plant. (Just make sure you didn’t trap any bugs under it!)

5. Rotate Crops: Many of these bugs live and lay their eggs in the same beds as the plants they are eating.  So, by planting the same crop in the same beds each year, you are essentially just feeding all those little baby bugs. Luckily most bugs are only attracted to certain types of plants, so by rotating a different types of plant into that bed (ex: planting carrots where last year you had tomatoes), you can eliminate the problem.

Solutions:

(These come straight from Eartheasy.com. Love them! I have used these fixes many times and they are fantastic solutions! Just remember that if it rains, you may need to re-apply your spray.)

Soft-bodied insects (mites, aphids, mealybugs): Mix one tablespoon canola oil and a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Shake well and pour into a spray bottle. Spray plant from above down, and from below up to get the underside of the leaves. The oil smothers the insects.

Grubs: For lawn or garden grubs, there is a natural remedy called milky spore. The granules are spread on the soil and cause the grubs to contract a disease that kills them. This natural control affects only the grubs, leaving the beneficial organisms unharmed. Milky spore multiplies over time and will sit inactive, waiting for grubs to infect. One treatment is said to last 40 years. The grubs are actually the larvae of Japanese beetles. So, when you kill the grubs you kill the beetle.

Mites and other insects: Mix two tablespoons of hot pepper sauce or cayenne pepper with a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Let it stand overnight, then stir and pour into a spray bottle and apply as above. Shake container frequently during application.

Earwigs, slugs, and other soft-bodied garden pests: Sprinkle diatomaceuos earth over the plants and around edges of garden beds. The diatoms particles are very small and sharp – but only harmful to the small exoskeletons of insects, slugs and snails. Insects cannot become immune to its action, as it is a mechanical killer – not a chemical one.

Insects and fungal diseases: Combine one tablespoon of cooking oil, two tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of Ivory soap into a quart of water. Pour into a spray container and apply as above.

Insects on fruit trees: Lime sulfur and *dormant oil (available at nurseries and garden centers), can be sprayed on the trunk and branches of dormant fruit trees. This concoction will suffocate insect egg cases. Because the oily spray is heavy compared to the other water-based sprays, you’ll need a pump sprayer. These are fairly inexpensive, and are available to rent from some nurseries. Only use this method while the tree is dormant however, or it can kill the tree.

*Commercial dormant oils may contain petroleum oil or kerosene. A less toxic method is to make your own. Mix 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 tbsp liquid soap in one gallon (4 liters) water. Mix the soap and oil first, then add the water. Shake often during use.

Fungal diseases: Mix two tablespoons of baking soda into a quart of water. Pour into a spray container and spray affected areas. Repeat this process every few days until problem ceases.

Powdery mildew: Mix equal parts milk and water and spray on infected plants. Three treatments a week apart should control the disease.

CAUTION:  Sprays which kill harmful insects will also kill beneficial insects. Use these homemade remedies selectively, only spraying the infected plants. Apply them early in the morning or just before dark. Re-apply after a rain. Wear protective clothing when spraying insecticides.

Check out the following link for more!

http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_cntrl.htm

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Categories: Pest and Disease Control

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6 Comments on “Organic Pest and Fungus Control”

  1. Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What web
    host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your
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    • May 22, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

      Thanks! I have been using WordPress for my blog and it has been fantastic so far. It is fast and has lots of great layouts!

  2. May 12, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    Right here is the right website for anybody who hopes to understand this topic.
    You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I
    actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on
    a subject that has been written about for a long
    time. Great stuff, just excellent!

    • May 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks so much! Isn’t it great to know we can grow plants in our yard without having to integrate harmful chemicals and pesticides. Even better is that most of these solutions can be found right in your kitchen! I am always trying to learn more from the growers I meet, and from my own experiments, so I promise I will keep adding more great info as I discover it!

  3. May 12, 2013 at 8:49 am #

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